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Saturday, February 23rd
The Critics Corner: Albums
Demi Lovato
Blue October- Approaching Normal
Fifth effort from Texas alt-rockers an emotional roller coaster
Dierks Bentley Name: "Approaching Normal"
Label: Universal/Republic
Release Date: March 24, 2009
My rating: 4.0 out of 5

Review written by: Jami Kinton
"Approaching Normal" is the fifth Blue October studio album. The 11-track album was released on March 24, 2009 from Universal, produced by Steve Lillywhite . The rock band, from Houston, Texas, was formed in 1995 and currently consists of Justin Furstenfeld (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums, percussion), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin/viola, mandolin, piano, backing vocals), C.B. Hudson (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Noveskey (bass guitar, backing vocals).

“Approaching Normal” kicks off with the somber rhythmic beating at the beginning of "Weight of the World.” This dark piece is full of tension, and I interpreted it to circle around the thoughts of suicide. The lead singer, Justin Furstenfeld realizes everyone the act would hurt, mainly his mother, and he tries to pull himself out of it. Unfortunately, his heart is guilt-ridden. "When the weight of the world's gone wrong ... How did I get here? Just let me go away ... I'm packed." For someone pissed off at the world, this song would definitely be one to commiserate with.

Song number two on this album "Say it" is a bit arrogant, but more so as a survival method. It's all about staying strong and sort of saying, "Don't bother telling me what you think because I gotta follow my own path." "It's all about dreams. It's all about makin' the best out of everything. You fall on your face, but you get back up - Man, you're doing fine." The song starts out encouraging individualism, and listening to your own heart. Then it tells off anyone who's standing in the way: "Don't try to say you're better than me. Don't talk down to me." The pulsing rhythm and brilliant guitar-work in this piece are high energy and drawing. The words are clear and catchy. If you want to pump yourself up or are hesitant making your own decisions, take a listen to this song.

The soothing sounds of song number five "My Never" is refreshing. The beginning starts out a bit haunting, with Furstenfeld slowly asking, "Will you think of me, in time? It's never my luck ... I want to say your name, but the pain starts again." I felt this song was about a past relationship that he wants to relive. Unfortunately, there were other problems that came with the relationship. I think he feels like it's too late. He's trying to tell her that he never loved someone as much as her, but he is also a little afraid to jump back in. The violin and the piano give the song a light, gentle feel. This was one of my favorite songs on the album. It's something I feel many people will be able to relate with.

Song six, "Should Be Loved," is also going to be very relatable for many people. The song is all about someone who feels they're giving everything they can to make their relationship work - but it's a very one-sided relationship. Plus, nothing they're doing is good enough. "I'm sorry if you feel I let you down. What did I do so wrong to you? I should be loved by you. I can't breathe when you're around." Musically, the song is very strong. I love the piano and the few portions of keyboard work. For such a sad song, it moves fast - one you will have stuck in your head for days.

The album concludes with "Blue Does," a soft, steady piece that finishes the album on a positive, hopeful note. Furstenfeld could be talking about a child, but I think he's more singing about his ideal - the beautiful woman, who understands him, loves him and is waiting for him. Who doesn't want to find someone like that?

Blue October will take you on an emotional rollercoaster with this album, but you will easily relate to and appreciate their words many steps along the way.

Cristina CarrazzaJami Kinto is a staff writer in the Midwest region at Musiqtone.com. You can contact her at jamikinton@musiqtone.com or fill out this feedback form below.
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